There’s no doubt who the star attraction was in the woods near Denny last weekend.
All eyes and cameras were focused on Hollywood hero Russell Crowe when he visited his pal Charlie Allan on Sunday afternoon.
But even he would be the first to admit the impressive fortified village of Duncarron deserved to share his top billing.
The structure, built entirely by members of the Clanranald Trust and a dedicated band of volunteers over four years, consists of 4200 larch wood logs stretching to a circumference of 450 metres.
In order to raise funds for Duncarron, members of the trust’s “Combat International” team have appeared at numerous public events and starred in over 100 productions - including epics like ‘King Arthur’, ‘Valhalla Rising’, ‘Robin Hood’ and, of course, ‘Gladiator’, where Crowe’s friendship with Charlie began 12 years ago.
He said: “The first time I saw Charlie he was holding up a severed head and screaming at me. I thought, this is a bloke I’ve got to meet.”
Looking relaxed and completely at home in the clan’s company, Crowe wore jeans and a South Sydney Rabbitohs jacket - the Australian rugby team he has followed since he was a youngster and which he now co-owns.
Known as a straight talker, he made no bones about the reason for his visit - he was using his own high profile to draw attention to the trust’s ambitious project.
He said: “The main thing I am hoping to get out of this is a little bit of governmental attention. The team here have done the really hard work — they have broken the back of it. I think what they need is some acknowledgement of the asset this will be.”
The actor was visibly impressed by the sight that greeted him and had nothing but praise for the effort and commitment Charlie and members of the trust had shown to get Duncarron to this stage.
“I’ve seen pictures of it, but to stand here and see it is pretty impressive.”
Malin Allan, Charlie’s wife, said: “Duncarron is 24/7 for us - it’s not a hobby, it’s a crusade.”
Charlie’s vision for Duncarron is of a “hands-on” museum, a living, breathing interpretation of the country’s past where children can come and witness first hand the sights, sounds and smells of mediaeval Scotland - something they could never experience just from reading a history book.
The village itself has some way to go before it is completed.
“About three or four movies away,” said Malin. “That’s how we measure it.”
Clanranald Trust’s world famous friend, on his first trip to Scotland, said he could see Duncarron being used as a film set in the future and promised this would be just the first of many trips to the location for him.
“I can’t believe it’s taken me 47 years to come to Scotland,” he laughed.
Visit www.clanranald.org for more information on the trust and Duncarron.